Ben Goldacre: Battling Bad Science



Every day there are news reports of new health advice, but how can you know if they’re right? Doctor and epidemiologist Ben Goldacre shows us, at high speed, the ways evidence can be distorted, from the blindingly obvious nutrition claims to the very subtle tricks of the pharmaceutical industry.

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Featured speakers have included Al Gore on climate change, Philippe Starck on design, Jill Bolte Taylor on observing her own stroke, Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop per Child, Jane Goodall on chimpanzees, Bill Gates on malaria and mosquitoes, Pattie Maes on the “Sixth Sense” wearable tech, and “Lost” producer JJ Abrams on the allure of mystery. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, development and the arts. Closed captions and translated subtitles in a variety of languages are now available on TED.com, at

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  • Back when TED was still TED…

    Matt Conway-Cleaves May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • I thought this was gonna be about science not garbage papers. If anything this guy is just part of the problem with bad academic science.

    Jamie Owns May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • 私はアメリカ人。 にほんごむずかし

    バーバラch May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • It's so difficult probrem.lol

    s a May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • Watching this for HSC1100 at Monash, Caulfield. any one else??

    Kurt Alaimo May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • This lecture is awesome at 1.5 x speed

    Ryan Kaine May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • His mum was the lead singer in 70's one hit wonder Foxx.

    Andrew Riley May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • He’s a what -ologist?

    addjewelry May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • People that speak real fast are very confused.

    Walter Smith May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • Played at .75x speed so I could actually enjoy this.

    oxfordcommasutra May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • Hey my grandmother made her own olive oil, was a farmer, was out all day and at 87 had no wrinkles. Her luxury facial cream was olive oil and lemon juice.

    Mara A May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • Does he have ANY evidence for climate change ? I have yet to be persuaded – no evidence !!!!

    Vanessa Smith May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • This man talks as fast as Ben Shapiro

    Sharpie May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • Dude looks like he forgot to go pee before the meeting

    Texas Hank Palmer May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • This is one of the best talks ever given in medicine

    Chris Schouest May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • this guy would def be an atheist

    PRVKT May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • I had to watch this for a school assignment, he is talking way to fast. It took me 35 minutes to actually gather all the information I needed. Slow down my friend.

    Randy Barksdale May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • And his mum always sang so slowly.

    Alan Slevin May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • Ben is the man!!!!!

    don molonare May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • When i lose concentration it sounds like this guy is saying:
    aakgfjdhagashdgkashdhkadhsadsd
    But in a British accent.

    King and Peasant May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • Wow, Ben. You're very smart, but still need to quit amphetamines.

    Francesco Mazzi May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • "but, and its a big but" (everyone laughs)

    luke bobb May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • That time I ate 4g of BASE and was awake for 3 days, "has really let himself go".

    The Recalcitrant Misanthrope May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • slide of al gore in the Tedx talk opening montage of alumini on bad science. that cracks me up, classic

    Joseph Howard May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • Im so disappointed that such a bright mind 'slipped sideways' into epidemiology: one of the sciences that has most often lauded crappy confounded observational studies.

    Cassie Oz May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • Hey, Ben…take it easy with the crack, okay?

    Karl Hungus May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • So glad this hit 500K views

    Some User May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • Does ben Shapiro know about this guy

    Nastia May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • The truth about vaccines https://docs.google.com/document/d/1N5ePF6XPR5LmLGTjiBMpD5JfFJAm6JYJ68OyV5GJySw/edit

    Dan May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • You can have milk, and you can have sugar,
    but if you have them together you get a cancer!
    I heard this 10 years ago. Can someone please
    tell me who made this crap up, so that I can know
    that I need not worry about it.

    AA Productions May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • Greece 74 to 84 the people were healthy, in general. after the Greeks went toward western diets rate of heart diseases with many other sicknesses increased dramatically as was shown in figures and observed by leading Greek heart surgeons.. 3 blue areas in Greece have more older people staying healthy far longer than in other regions. Peter l. Dollins.

    peter dollins May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • Why is he dancing?

    Malay Agarwal May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • Excellent talk. Thank you.

    Thefilth May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • seems the guy really wants to go to pee.

    cesar leon May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • Question: Considering all Ben said above (which I agree to), what about studies about things like second-hand smoke as being 'proven' hazardous causes of premature death? I ask not in doubt that harm CAN occur in excess environments but that when it is used by governments to create laws, how CAN one actually experiment realistically to determine such kinds of conclusions? How can you rule out other causes? Relating also to this is how statistics show a decrease in smoking upon laws that both educate and restrict ads and overt access, etc. In line with what Ben said above about the KINDS of people involved, if the success of effectiveness of these tactics suffice to help say, a middle to upper class portion of the environment, how can a statistic be appropriate about ALL people, like those in poverty.

    An example of something I know as a smoker to which political excuse is backed by science is regarding the hiding of the presence of tobacco products in stores (here in Saskatchewan, Canada, at least). As far as I am aware, no one would rationally opt to go to the store one day out of the blue to buy cigarettes of any particular brand name to initiate their addiction. Rather, people would only opt to begin smoking by peer or local environmental groups of people (like family) and ONLY try smoking first THROUGH others without even requiring to pay for it. The brand one seems to have only relates to what they began with in these initial trials and not due directly to an appealing looking package on display by some company. Nor is the higher prices matter as a deterrent until one is already an addict. (Thus, the excuse to charge higher prices as a deterrent only affect the post addicted, not the initiated.)

    Scott Mayers May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • lol i watched this at 1.5 speed and I was fine. Great speaker

    holesum May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • Great video for my TOK class except for the reference to S&M:-(

    Michael Ortman May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • Good lord… such good information , delivered by someone speaking like a 14 year old teen girl… shame.

    Steve Corbin May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • just set it to .75 speed, he talks super fast

    Henry May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply
  • Modern medicine has always been questionable as well as media information. This guy is spot on when he first talks about modern science. The hypocrisy inaccuracy is extremely relevant especially with the growth of technology. Unfortunately modern medicine will also be included with the non sense we are told to believe is true.

    Maya Medina May 25, 2020 2:06 pm Reply

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